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96mph in a 30 limit & 149mph on a motorway: figures reveal insane speeding on roads of England & Wales

"A limit not a target to beat," says road safety body...

The fastest speeding motorist recorded in England and Wales in the last 12 months was doing over twice the speed limit on the M25 at Swanley, according to figures obtained by the Institute of Advanced Motorists.

More worrying for cyclists were the drivers caught on camera doing twice and in one case three times the limit on A and B roads.

Eighty-five percent of police authorities responded to the IAM’s freedom of information request asking for details of the fastest speeds recorded by cameras between April 2013 and May 2014.

The highest speeds recorded away from motorways and other 70mph limits were:

  • 30mph road: 96mph on the B1288, on Leam Lane, Gateshead
  • 50mph road: 119 mph on the A414 Stanstead Abbotts, Hertfordshire
  • 60mph road: 127mph on the A413 Wendover By-Pass, Wendover

The sentencing guidelines for courts dealing with speeding offences stop well short of the top speeds now being recorded on the roads. The maximum penalty laid down for speeding in a 30mph area is a fine plus six points or a disqualification of 7-56 days for driving between 51 and 60mph. 96mph? It seems not to have occurred to the framers of the guidelines that this was even possible.

Some might say that it’s a failure of road design that drivers can hit three times the limit on a 30mph road. Leam Lane, according to Google Street View, is die-straight with clear sight lines and no traffic calming, even at the entrance to Roman Road Primary School.

IAM chief executive Simon best said: “Speed limits are a limit.  They are not a target to beat. Unfortunately this message has not got through to many motorists and it’s clear that efforts to make speeding as socially unacceptable as drink driving continue to fail.  That’s why we need sustained campaigning by the government, motor industry and charities to keep ramming home the message that excessive speed kills.  Catching speeders at two or even three times the limit also shows the importance of keeping speed cameras at well-known black spots.”

“The current guidelines on sentencing for excessive speeding offences are out of sync with modern roads, modern vehicles and society’s view of the value of lives lost in crashes.  We all share the roads with these speeding drivers and the government must crack down on them with more consistent penalties and tougher measures to break their addiction for speed.”

A detailed breakdown by region is available in the attached Word document.

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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